some people, the first thing they notice in another person is eye colour, teeth crookedness or bulging biceps. while these qualities are certainly not overlooked (although the string bean is preferable to bulging and bulked up) i tend to gravitate to scars; the ones that are immediately visible. i am a sensory, i like texture; i had to grit my teeth to stop myself from poking my finger into a particular groovy and juicy scar when i first made the acquaintance of one particularly scarry individual.
i have a lot of scars, however for the purpose of not slipping into excessive self-absorbed, narcissistic disclosure the "tour" only includes the physical ones. they are interesting, not because they are a grotesque interruption to smooth, peach fuzz skin. like wrinkles they reflect (an) experience, a story of pain; survived. i look at my own scars in much the same sentimental way i look at pictures of 5 year old me; squashed in a bath with my brother and 3 cousins covered in bubble beards and fros.
mine are not the territory of rambunctious tomboy or "x-treme" activity girl. the "first" is barely noticeable on my skin; a crown of thorns got lodged into my shin as a wee lass in south africa, possibly from running around the garden or swinging from the tree. i don't remember the pain, but the scar is proof and evidence. less painful physically, but harder emotionally are the grooves and recesses that denote an oily t-zone of adolescence drenched in neutrogena, noxzema and oxy. aftermaths of some bike oopsies (riding off a bridge into the dry creek bed at laurel lake!) the bruises have faded, scabs have long been picked off, and off, and off again. now my legs are primarily a connect the dot mess of the carnage left by mosquitoes, chiggers, hives, and poison ivy. or rather the remnants of my scratching episodes as a response to these blights on my flesh. finally, there are the mandatory arm innoculations we all wear like military epaulets.
every day i see scars on people's arms and wrists, some are superficial; the "cry for help", some represent externalizing invisible, emotional distress, and others just want to end their pain. the wrist bandages that cover these scars evoke an image of a vulnerable and wounded wonderwoman.
fortunately, we can sit around, kick back and look at old scars with friends, rather like leafing through old photo albums; pulling up a sleeve here, a pant leg there and sharing our unfortunate luck or poor judgement.